Head of School Message
By Avi Baran Munro, Ed.M.
I am often moved to tears in my daily life as Head of School at CDS. Thankfully, 99 percent of the time these are tears of pride, joy, surprise, tenderness, humility, as I walk the halls and campus of our school and am treated to the energy and life and generosity and learning and intensely sweet community that is Community Day School.
If you want to see me in action (in tears!), come by on a Friday morning when our shevatim (tribes) get together for Kabbalat Shabbat or for their bi-monthly gatherings to greet Shabbat in various shevet classrooms throughout our building. After the bell rings and the Pledge is recited, the halls fill with our older students coming downstairs to warmly greet their youngest shevet-mates so they can escort them to their respective shevet classrooms. They often hold hands, and awe, admiration, and excitement emanate from our younger children’s faces, while our older students suddenly appear so grown up and so tender. That sight is one I will never tire of seeing.
Last Friday, in each of those mixed-age shevet classrooms, a new cycle of learning was launched. In the heart of the somber and reflective days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we introduced a new two-year cycle of shared learning about Middot, the desirable character traits that, according to Jewish teachings, go into the making of a mensch.
This groundbreaking initiative integrates mindfulness practice in a Jewish framework to support greater spiritual engagement, social and emotional learning, and much-needed mind-body wellness for ourselves and our children. Inspired by our work with Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life (EJSL) through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, we have begun to bring mindfulness and Middot together.
With EJSL team members and other CDS teachers eagerly assuming responsibility to teach one of the Middot to all the shevatim over a two-year cycle, we are excited about the potential to have shared attention and shared understandings about what we mean when we hold ourselves accountable to being a mensch. In our shevatim, we as a school family will be delving deeply into developing a shared vocabulary and shared experiences of the following traits:
Repentance, return, making amends
Our intention is to create a developmentally appropriate learning opportunity for character growth and exploration. Through this work, CDS students of all ages will share hands-on experiences employing the five literacies of mindfulness―physical, emotional, mental, social, and global―as we find ways to connect these valued character traits to our students’ daily experiences.
How does one make a Bechirah (mindful choice) in the heat of frustration? How do we know when to have Shtikah (mindful silence) or Shmirat Halashon (mindful speech)? Can we find Seder (order/balance) with our personal challenges? Each student will leave each Middah session with an intention of noticing. This is an opportunity for discussion at home and in school. They will return to the second session with authentic experiences of the Middah in their lives.
To facilitate reflection between shevet sessions, children in K-Grade 3 will be coming home with letters to parents designed to invite you into the conversation. Parents of older students are encouraged ask their children about the Middot they’ve been learning and if their awareness of their own actions and reactions has been heightened through these experiences and discussions at home.
If you’re a CDS parent or grandparent or special friend, we want you to know that these conversations are happening at school and we invite you to be part of the conversation.
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sukkot Sameach,
Last Friday CDS Shvatim (tribes) began their mindful explorations of Middot.
Up Ahead At CDS
CDS Grandparent Challah Bake
Community Day School grandparents are invited to join us for an interactive Shabbat program on Thursday, October 11 from 3:45-4:45 p.m. If your child’s grandparents did not receive a copy of the e-mail invitation to the Fall Challah Bake event, please make sure that we have their contact information on file so they don’t miss the latest CDS news. RSVP here
Sukkot Fest Volunteers Needed
Volunteers are needed for Sukkot Fest on Wednesday, September 26 and Thursday, September 27. Please contact Molly Muffet if you are available to volunteer with students in the CDS gardens during this annual harvest celebration for students in all grades.
S.T.E.A.M Senses of Sukkot
Children ages 2-5 and their families are invited to join us as we explore the beauty of Sukkot through science, technology, engineering, art, and math (S.T.E.A.M.) This first-time event presented by CDS and PJ Library Pittsburgh will take place Sunday, September 30 on our campus from 10-11:30 a.m.
* Explore the gooey insides of gourds
* Create and share a friendship fruit salad
* Build a kid-size Sukkah with recycled materials
* Navigate a hay bale maze
* And much more!
Engage your senses to discover the wonder and beauty of Sukkot! Funded through the generosity of a SteelTree Fund grant, this event is free and open to the community. RSVP at comday.org/sukkot
Lion’s Pride Open Hours
The Lion’s Pride Used Uniform Shop will be open to CDS parents this year after full-school Kabbalat Shabbat on the first school Friday of every month, as well as the third Sunday of every month beginning this week on September 23. If you can’t make these times, make an appointment to shop with Sarah DeWitt or Ellen Goldhagen.
GRANTED! Program Now Open
Do you have a fabulous idea that would make Community Day School an even better place? The CDS Parent Association wants to transform your idea into reality.
The GRANTED! program is back, and it's even better than before. GRANTED! affords all teachers, students, and families the opportunity to apply for grants up to $2,000 to fund projects to enrich the school. If you have a great idea to enrich a classroom, students’ education, our campus, an extracurricular activity, or anything else related to the CDS experience, the GRANTED! program can make it happen.
This year, GRANTED! program applications will be open and available online throughout the school year. The PA board will review applications twice to make funding decisions—deadlines for review are November 9, 2018 and March 22, 2019. There is no limit to the number of applications you can submit each year.
Start dreaming, and submit your GRANTED! Application here: comday.org/granted. For questions or assistance with the application, please contact GRANTED! Program Chair Bryna Siegel Finer.
Adult Jewish Learning Opportunities
Ever want to study conversational Hebrew? How about Yiddish? Or delve deep into the mysteries of the Tanya, a 200-year-old Jewish text with a revolutionary look at the human psyche? Or unpack the meaning of the 613 commandments and understand how they inform our personal lives? These are some of the adult Jewish learning opportunities being made possible by the CDS Parent Association this fall. Click below each image to learn more and to register!
CDS Wins 2018 Girls on the Run Coach of the Year
CDS Marketing and Communications Director Jennifer Bails has been named the 2018 Girls on the Run Coach of the Year. Bails has been coaching the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program at CDS for four years. GOTR inspires girls in Grades 3 to 5 to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. She was nominated as Coach of the Year by CDS 5th grader Maya G., who submitted the beautifully illustrated nomination form to the right, which was selected from more than 150 entries. Bails will be honored at the 14th Annual Girls on the Run of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Sneaker Bash on October 20 at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Congrats to Maya and Coach Jen!
Do Superheroes Cry?
By Sarah Glascom-Morris, 3-Year-Old Lead Teacher and Early Childhood Co-Director
You may be thinking, “How can you teach about Yom Kippur to a group of 3-year-olds?” The concept of atonement is very abstract to them, so we approached the holiday from a different perspective. In essence, when we’re asking for forgiveness, we’re also making the commitment to try to do better next time. Instead of merely saying, “I’m sorry,” as a bandage, we want the children to think deeper and develop empathy for others. We model language for them, such as asking, “Are you OK? What can I do to make you feel better?” We also model this practice ourselves to show the children that grown-ups make mistakes, too.
We taught them that the number one rule in our classroom, as well as in life, is “Be Kind.” In meeting times, we’ve been working on a song that incorporates Hebrew and English, “S’licha, Todah, B’vakasha” to reinforce prosocial behavior through kind words. The power of a simple “Excuse me” goes a long way, particularly with respect to the concept of atonement and acknowledging mistakes. This brought up a great question: “What are manners?” We look forward to exploring this new vocabulary word to its fullest throughout the year.
In Art, Mr. Lerner explained that Yom Kippur is about feelings, and we used vibrant colors to express those feelings in mixed media pieces. Back in the classroom, we read the book Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker, in which superheroes work on finding different ways to cope with their upset feelings. One child asked, “Do superheroes cry?” Clearly our lessons in empathy are having an impact.
The 3-year-old class explores the lessons of Yom Kippur
1st Grade Habitat Explorers
By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
1st Grade recently took part in an experiential learning adventure and enjoyed a morning of beautiful weather outdoors. We are fortunate at CDS to be located within walking distance of the new Frick Environmental Center operated by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Last week, our 1st Grade students walked to this state-of-the-art building, which was engineered to meet the Living Building Challenge standards and to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.
During our first of three visits this year to Frick through the Habitat Explorers Program, the students explored the park meadow. The goals of the program are to introduce students to scientific inquiry through guided and independent activities, while leading their young minds to explore and discover the outdoors. The 1st graders first observed the insects, plants, and animals that live in the park meadow by collecting organism samples. They then had the opportunity to improve this habitat through a group stewardship project of making mud-balls to re-seed the meadow.
This time 1st Grade made their journey to Frick in the warm sunshine. They anxiously await their winter visit, where they will explore the woodland habitat, knowing that rain or snow may be in the forecast.
1st Grade Habitat Explorers weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to seed bomb the Frick Park meadow
Hebrew Learning Goes Digital
By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
For many years as a school, we have implemented the Tal Am Hebrew curriculum in Grades 1-5, and last year, we introduced iTaL AM to our 3rd and 4th Grade students. iTal Am has reinvented the world of Hebrew language and Jewish heritage education by transforming the well-established TaL AM print program into an engaging, interactive, personalized, and adaptive digital experience.
Just like TaL AM, iTaL AM is a cross-denominational curriculum, appropriate for use across a wide spectrum of Jewish approaches. Our students have the opportunity to learn songs that are presented with animation and illustrative pictures. There are lyrics displayed with a soundtrack and words that are highlighted to help our students follow them. Students are exposed to guided books in formats that are individualized to meet their language-learning needs.
The new program includes a wide range of activities, including multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, matching the text to the picture, highlighting and coloring text, finishing pictures, and more. Learning games, including content and language skills, will enable our students to review and gain a deeper understanding of the material in an experiential and challenging way. All of this happens in conjunction with more traditional language-learning methods.
We are thrilled that this year we were able to expand the use of iTal Am to our 1st, 2nd and 5th grades. We were fortunate to send three of our teachers for training in using the different components of iTal Am. Nancy Glick, Tal Perel, and Yamit Levy each spent four days of intense training in New Jersey this summer to learn how to use the curriculum within Grades 1, 3, 4, and 5, where iTal Am is already underway. In 2nd Grade, the curriculum will be slowly rolled out during the course of this year.
We are just beginning to explore the possibilities of this new and innovative curriculum. At this point, we are finding that our students are excited and look forward to each new experience.
Tal Am has always been a beautiful, student-friendly way to learn Hebrew. iTal Am takes it to a new level of using technology to help stimulate and strengthen the ability of our students to build on their Hebrew language experience.
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
coming between two things in time, place, order, character, etc.
Did you ever wonder why the 4th and 5th Grade at CDS is called the Intermediate School? Well, thanks to Merriam-Webster, you have your answer! The Intermediate School provides a place for our 9- and 10-year-olds to grow academically and socially in the days between the last day of 3rd Grade and the first day of Middle School. These students change classes more often, have increased responsibilities, and enjoy more opportunities in leadership, service, academics, drama, and sports.
The Intermediate School teachers are very intentional about helping the IS students “learn how to learn,” improve their executive function skills, produce more sophisticated writing, develop their critical thinking skills, demonstrate a growth mindset, resolve social conflicts, and display more Mensch-like behavior. Developmentally, there are huge differences between a 3rd grader and a 6th grader. Intermediate School provides a safe place for our 4th and 5th graders to relax and just enjoy being a kid as they bridge the gap between Lower School and Middle School.
Along the way, the IS students get to experience: Jr. Student Council, IS Drama Club, The IS Service-Learning Project, Little Lions, Jr. Tefillah Council, IS Student Ambassadors, 5th Grade Step-Up Program (with MS Sports), 5th Grade Lunch with Mr. Minkus, Field Trips (Idlewild Park and Gettysburg), and much more!
Be sure to check this section of the ETON in the coming weeks to see all of the amazing things happening in our Intermediate School!
Welcome, Yamit Levy!
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
Among the new faces of our Intermediate School faculty, Yamit Levy’s is already familiar. Being a CDS parent of Roi (Grade 7), Shira (Grade 4), and Ella (Grade 1), Ms. Levy knows all too well of the welcoming and collegial environment at our school. Coming to us from Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, Ms. Levy brings not only knowledge of the Hebrew language, but also the desire and dedication to share her life experiences in Israel.
Filled with ideas to share, Ms. Levy feels honored to teach in a school that encourages experiential learning. Already being a part of the CDS community, she acknowledges that her successful transition from parent to teacher could not happen without her husband’s continued help with their family. Ms. Levy thoroughly delights in getting hugs from her children mid-day and witnessing their school life firsthand. Her greatest enjoyment thus far is participating in morning tefillah, where she notices all of the children’s impressive knowledge of the Torah and the prayers.
Although Ms. Levy’s teaching specialty (and love) is mathematics, her kind personality, her dedication to teaching, and her enthusiasm for Hebrew culture make her a perfect addition to our Hebrew and Intermediate School faculty. She feels honored to be at CDS, and we feel honored to have her here.
Rock the Vote!
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” On Monday afternoon, our Middle School students took full advantage of their right to vote when the Student Council elections were held in the Ulam K’lalee. All STUCO members running for office gave a speech, making their case for why they should be President, Secretary, Treasurer, Liaison, or Historian. The 5th graders were our special guests for the speeches.
The election process began when Middle School students voluntarily joined Student Council and then requested a reference form to run for an office. Each candidate had to detail the reasons why they wanted to be a STUCO officer with my signature for approval. For me, the most fun part of this process is when the creative campaign signs begin to populate the walls and doors of the third-floor hallway. One of my favorites from last year was a large photo of a koala bear, with the caption: “Vote 4 Me. I have all of the Koalafications.” Another fun poster from this year said: “Chews Leah for Treasurer,” with pictures of bubble gum and a huge bubble!
At the conclusion of the speeches, the MS students exercised their right to vote by filling out a secret ballot. Congratulations to our new officers: President Lilah S., Vice-President Gabriella N., Treasurer Leah H., Liaison Noa S., Historian Evelyn A., and Secretary Ilyssa B. These newly elected leaders will help guide our student government organization with events including: the All-School Pink Out, MS Penny Wars (for Breast Cancer Research), Thanksgiving Food Drive, Winter Dance, Purim Door Decorating Contest, Spirit Days/Purim, the Children’s Village (Karmiel) Fundraiser, Teacher Appreciation Week, Passover Food Drive, Spring Dance, and the 8th Grade Clap Out! A special thank you to our MS STUCO Advisors (and 2017 PASC Advisors of the Year) Ronit Pasternak and Jackie Goldblum. Another thank you goes out to Charlotte Rakaczky, who helped so many of these students get their start in Intermediate School Jr. STUCO.
Stay tuned for more information about what MS STUCO is up to in future issues of the ETON!
Kol HaKavod to the newly elected Tefillah Council Officers:
President - Jonah R.
Vice President - Eli H.
Secretary - Hannah A.
Historian - Akiva W.
A note from Tefillah Council Historian Akiva W. … “Tefillah Council is so excited to get started on the right foot this year. We are excited to have more of an impact on our CDS community. We hope to do this by taking on a bigger role in school fundraisers and charitable events.” Stay tuned for more!
Introspection Leads To Action
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
Every Friday, our Middle School students report to homeroom during 9th Period for Advisory. MS Advisory contains many important activities over the course of the year, including: student-teacher conferences, “Power Up” (power and consent in relationships curriculum), team-building activities, Leadership 101, digital citizenship, Ner Tamid Grant Writing, improving organizational skills, and much more.
For the past two weeks, the students have engaged in two unique activities to help them look ahead to the rest of the school year and to look inward to reflect on their true identity. The middle schoolers were first given the task of coming up with three goals for the year: personal, academic, and social. They were challenged to really stretch themselves and consider where they want to be in these three important areas by the last day of school. Written on Post-It Notes, the answers ranged from “I want to attend Friendship Circle more consistently” and “I want to improve my manners” to “I want to read more often to boost my reading comprehension” and “I want to be more kind to my family members.” If they felt comfortable enough to share, students read their goals aloud, and then every note was attached to a large poster at the front of the room. This colorful collection of goals will be displayed all year long in their homeroom class as a reminder of what our Middle School students are striving to accomplish.
Last week, the focus turned inward. Our students were each given a black-and-white photo of themselves from last year’s yearbook. After tracing their silhouette, the students were tasked with creating a self-portrait using only words. “Two words that are meaningful to you” became the eyes, “your favorite types of music” were written down to create the ears, and the rest of the facial lines and hair were “words and phrases that describe or represent you.” It was interesting to watch the students think carefully about what to write, and it was beautiful to see how these one-of-a-kind self portraits―that will now hang in each student’s locker―came to life on the page.
There will be many more engaging experiences to come in MS Advisory this year, but we’re off to a great start with important goal-setting and meaningful introspection
Off To The Races
The fall Lions sports season is well underway, and the Middle School Cross Country team is off to the races under the leadership of Coach Ison. The team has one meet under its belt against Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and St. Edmund’s Academy; the Boys placed first and the Girls placed second during an impressive hot afternoon match-up at Schenley Oval. Catch the team doing laps around CDS with enthusiasm at practices over the next couple of weeks. Coach Shevitz is leading the charge for Middle School Soccer, with wins against Ellis and the Aquinas Academy JV team. The 7th and 8th Grade teams took on Sewickley Academy this afternoon, and you can catch both the Varsity and JV teams at home on our athletic field next Wednesday afternoon against Falk. Go Lions!
Your Life and Legacy
By Jenny Jones, Director of Institutional Advancement and Donor Relations
Would you consider making a legacy gift to the Pittsburgh Jewish community? Here is how you can!
CDS was approached by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Foundation in the summer of 2017 to participate in the Life & Legacy program. This four-year legacy incentive program began with a partnership between the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Jewish Community Foundation. It uses funds committed by both foundations to incentivize, train, and encourage local Jewish organizations to create and follow an action plan to secure legacy gifts and to steward donors effectively.
At Community Day School, we have recruited a team to participate and help meet our Life & Legacy goals; team members include myself, Avi Baran Munro, Debbie Resnick, Andrea Glickman, and Ken Levin. We will receive incentive grants for goals we achieve. For the first two years, we are required to secure a minimum of 18 legacy commitments each year, with an aspirational annual goal of 25, in order to be eligible for an incentive grant. Our team has already secured 22 commitments, and we’ll continue to participate in trainings and attend conferences throughout the year.
Leaving a legacy gift to CDS is easy, and I’m here to help you every step of the way:
Ways you can give:
1) Gift (bequest) in a will or trust
• Percent of the estate, the remainder the estate, specific property or a specific amount
• Attorney can add a charitable bequest amendment or codicil
• Your state may accept a notarized, dated, written instruction as part of your will
2) Percentage of retirement account
• Name one or more organizations as an after-lifetime beneficiary
• Contact plan administrator or go online for the change of beneficiary form
3) Percentage of life insurance policy
• Name one or more organizations as a beneficiary on an existing policy
• A new policy may have a current tax benefit if a non-profit is the owner and beneficiary
Legacy gift donors to date:
Dan and Ronna Askin
Jenny and Chad Jones
Michael and Caryl Levin
David and Carole Maretsky
Avi Baran Munro
Barry R. Nathan
Bruce and Jane Rollman
Derek Smith and Nicole Evoy
Rabbi Stephen and Lisa Steindel
Marc and Lisa Tannenbaum
Howard and Nicole Valinsky
Mark and Bari Weinberger
Joseph and Phyllis Weinkle
Lou and Amy Weiss
Jammin’ in the Jungle: Support the Gala
Save the date for Saturday, January 26, 2019 for Jammin’ in the Jungle: A Safari Adventure, the Community Day School gala event. It’s the biggest CDS party of the year, with plenty of surprises in store that you won’t want to miss.
Join us as we celebrate Community Day School and this year’s honorees, including Community Leadership Award winners and alumni grandparents Barbara and Lester Parker and Volunteer of the Year and Executive Vice President Derek Smith.
Already we’ve raised more than $135,000, and corporate and individuals sponsorships and advertising opportunities are still available, supporting quality education for all who want it at CDS: comday.org/gala
Board Member Spotlight: Deborah Gillman
Now serving her first year on the Community Day School Board of Trustees, Debby Gillman has been a proud CDS parent since moving to Pittsburgh with her husband, Daniel Kass, from New York City when their son, Judah, entered 2nd Grade (and just weeks after getting her driver’s license for the first time at age 40!). Judah graduated from CDS in 2017 and is now a sophomore at Pittsburgh Allderdice. Their daughter, Nava, is currently in 3rd Grade and will be a CDS lifer. Dr. Gillman is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in a UPMC medical clinic, where she treats adults with severe and chronic lung disease. She is also trained to treat sleep disorders.
When asked why she chose to serve on the board and what she hopes to accomplish this year, she said, “It is clear to me that the time to contribute to the CDS community is now, with eight years of CDS behind us and six more to go. I expect it will be a learning year, as I come to understand on a new level how the school operates.”
“I also look forward to representing the school to the wider Jewish community and being one of the faces of CDS,” she continued. She added that being a trustee will also give her a new and public way to “stand behind the gifted group of educators” at CDS.
Alumni Spotlight: Sivya Steindel Leventhal
We love nothing better than to hear from our alumni! Send news about your whereabouts, travels, families, simchas, and career and education accomplishments to Jenny Jones, Director of Institutional Advancement and Donor Relations.
Name: Sivya Steindel Leventhal
What year did you graduate: 1996
What are you doing now? I work in the Presidential Honors Program at Tyler Junior College in Texas. I've worked in higher education for years, mostly in student life. I also am a mom to two amazing kids―Elliot and Hattie―and they keep me, and my husband, Keith, pretty busy!
Favorite CDS memory: Too many to pick just one...but I think the 7th Grade trip to Washington, D.C. must have had a huge impact, making it a special memory, since it made me fall in love with the city and want to go to college there, which I did!
What is the biggest impact from having CDS education? I remember feeling like I was more prepared for classes at Allderdice than the students coming from public schools were. I still think about grammar and all Evelyn Solomonov Z”L taught us with our grammar bags. I also really think my davening is as good as it is because of all of my years at CDS.
What do you want to do next as a CDS alum? I love that I'm in touch with so many CDS friends (thank you Facebook!). I love that I can come back and see the growing and gorgeous campus whenever I'm back in town visiting family. I really just want to stay in touch with CDS―I love getting the ETON so I can see all that's going on there now.
Tell us something silly about you. Neither of my children were born in the city I lived in at the time. Also, I started a state capital hobby with my husband Keith 11 years ago, and we’ve been to 46 of the 50!
Kol Hakavod to …
Want to say Kol HaKavod to an employee at CDS? Fill out this online form.
In the first three weeks of school, you have already “wowed” me in so many ways!
Thank you for being you.
I am already so impressed by your hard work, dedication, and patience. Thank you for everything you do!
Iton is the Hebrew word for newspaper. Since ours is electronic, we call it an E-ton!
Community Day School
An independent Jewish day school educating children age 3 to Grade 8
6424 Forward Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
412-521-1100 ︱ comday.org
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